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International Women’s Day with Rasmea Odeh

By Joe Iosbaker |
March 10, 2015
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Chicago, IL - Rasmea Odeh celebrated International Women’s Day with over 125 supporters in Chicago, March 8. She appeared in strong spirits, as she prepares for her sentencing hearing in Detroit in just four days.

She was surrounded by activists from the anti-war, Palestine support, labor, women's and Black Lives Matter movements. She shared the stage with Mariame Kaba of Project NIA, who condemned the system of racism that uses violence to try to break the bodies of Black, Latina and Palestinian women. Kaba said Odeh is a symbol of women who continue to resist and to overcome.

Anti-war activist Kait McIntyre, a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, upheld the example of Odeh and rejected the models of women’s liberation presented by the rich - like Hillary Clinton. She said she was given “hope and courage to see so many people here today, celebrating women and their role in the struggles for justice. We must continue to demand justice for Rasmea. We must continue to move forward to, in the words of Rasmea, ‘find the justice in this world.’ Because we have no common interests with the parasites who seek to crush and exploit us, no matter their gender.”

Sarah Chambers of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) rocked the house with her speech about the fear that strong women, like Rasmea Odeh and the members of the CTU, instill in oppressors and bosses.

There were moving cultural performances, including an original song for Odeh by Evangeline Jackson, an registered nurse with AFSCME Local 1216 at Provident Hospital. Holly Kent-Payne of the Anti-War Committee - Chicago led the room in singing Union Maid and there were folk songs, popular music and poetry by Anakbayan (the national democratic organization of Filipino youth in the U.S.) and other Filipino activists.

Angela Davis, among the most famous former political prisoners in U.S. history, sent a solidarity message to the event in honor of Rasmea. The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression had requested the statement.

The event also raised $2500 for the Rasmea Defense Committee.

The emotional high point was the powerful speech delivered by Odeh herself. All present were inspired that this woman, who has already triumphed over Israel’s injustice, torture and prison, and is now facing even more prison and deportation, could smile and speak with such confidence. She spoke about her struggle, the cause of women, of Palestine, and of all oppressed people.

Rasmea explained, “Justice is a human right that must be fought for and won, the way women all over the world are fighting for their rights and the rights of their people.”

Many present pledged to take the 10-hour round trip to Detroit March 12, to stand with Odeh when she faces the Assistant U.S. Attorneys at her sentencing.